Monday 8 December 2014

Rubber soul....

There's no easy way to say this.  Tyres are boring.  Massively boring.  Nobody cares, certainly nobody in my office, or my friends, or....well anyone.  Except me.  I've become obsessed by them, different TPI's, widths, folding or non-folding.  I've always had a bit of a rubber fetish (ahem) but recently its gone nuclear as I find myself tracking down rare brands from overseas, paying a small fortune and waiting for weeks for them to turn up.  I love em.

There used to be a time, many years ago, when narrower was betterer.  I remember being a spotty faced 15 year old looking for extra seconds to take out of my club 10 mile TT time and rather than pinning back my flapping jersey, or maybe saving up for some proper clipless shoes I was convinced that my 20mm tyres were slowing me down and the only way to go were 19mm continentals inflated to about 200psi.  And these were clinchers, not tubs....Needless to say, I didn't go much faster and I became well aquainted with my Turbo replica saddle, more so than I would have liked.  But they looked ace and complimented my Rigida DP33's a treat.  Shiny...

These days it seems wider is better.  Folk used to race on 23mm, nowadays even the Pro's are on 25's. Even EuroMeisters Mavic, well known for ignoring all current trends now spec 25mm tyres on everything but their TT wheels.  Benefits include supposedly more comfort and better grip but I think the real reason is that most importantly, they look cool. 

Check out the 28mm's being raced round Canary wharf in the Halfords Tour series..

I've been riding 25mm for quite a while, my preferred tyre being a Vittoria Open Pave (yeah, like the Roubaix riders use) in a 24mm flavour.  Now, I say 24mm - what I actually mean is MASSIVEmm.  They're huge, they won't fit in the majority of bikes I own but they're so so comfy.  320 tpi, low pressures, cool green band (like the Roubaix riders) - seriously, they're immense.  However, they don't last long at all and I'm wearing a rear out every 500 miles.  Not ideal for a 2500+ mile race. 

So, I've started conducting a bit of research.  I've ridden a standard local route on the Vittoria's, in fairly general conditions.  I've now slapped on a set of whopper monster truck style 32mm Bontragers and I'll do another lap tonight.  The Bontys should last forever because a) they're nearly solid and b) they're muchos cheapness and all cheap tyres last forever.  See rubbish tyres for a similar result.  Hopefully these are just cheap and not rubbish.  Anyway, I've also got another set of racey 25mm Vittoria Open CX's (with tan walls - yah, I have a lot of leather bound books) and some Conti's GT something or others in 28mm. I shall report back my findings...gripping stuff eh...*


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